Configuration Management as a common factor in space related mishaps

Johnson, C.W. , Fletcher, L.L., Holloway, C.M. and Shea, C. (2009) Configuration Management as a common factor in space related mishaps. In: 27th International Conference on Systems Safety, Huntsville, Alabama, USA, 3-7 Aug 2009, pp. 3047-3057.

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Configuration management is essential for system safety. It helps to ensure that requirements and constraints, which are identified in previous stages of development, are preserved through subsequent modifications. It has, therefore, been recognized as a core component for standards ranging from IEC 61508 through to ISO 9000. Unfortunately, the pressures on development teams to respond to changing demands in dynamic environments and the complexity of many safety-critical systems combine to undermine these processes. This paper, therefore, uses the insights gained from three recent space-related mishaps to identify the threats to configuration management: the NOAA N-Prime fabrication incident, the loss of the X43-A and the ‘hard landing’ of the Genesis mission. The conclusions illustrate the importance of configuration management from conceptual and mathematical modeling through to operational deployment. They also illustrate the increasing importance of configuration management techniques in helping accident investigators identify the state of complex systems in the aftermath of adverse events. Poor configuration management not only increases the likelihood of mishaps, it also frustrates attempts to learn lessons from any failures that do occur.

Item Type:Conference Proceedings
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Johnson, Professor Chris
Authors: Johnson, C.W., Fletcher, L.L., Holloway, C.M., and Shea, C.
Subjects:Q Science > QA Mathematics > QA75 Electronic computers. Computer science
H Social Sciences > HV Social pathology. Social and public welfare
T Technology > TL Motor vehicles. Aeronautics. Astronautics
College/School:College of Science and Engineering > School of Computing Science
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